Multicenter study to assess potential hazards from exposure to lipid peroxidation products in soya bean oil from Trilucent (TM) breast implants

GM Williams, J Caldwell, D Armstrong, H Bartsch, R Bevan, RW Browne, James Chipman, MJ Iatroupoulos, AM Jeffrey, J Lunec, J Nair, DL Page, BC Reeves, A Richardson, B Silverstein, DF Williams

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In response to a Hazard Notice by the Medical Devices Agency of the UK in 2000 regarding the Trilucent breast implant (TBI), an expert panel was convened to implement a research program to determine whether genotoxic compounds were formed in the soybean oil filler (SOP) of TBIs and whether these could be released to produce local or systemic genotoxicity. The panel established a research program involving six laboratories. The program recruited 47 patients who had received TBIs (9 patients had received silicone implants previously). A reference group (REBI) of 34 patients who had exchanged either silicone (17 patients) implants (REBI-E) or patients (17) who were to receive primary implantation augmentation with silicone (REBI-P1A), and who were included as needed to increase either the pre- or post-explantation sample number. Of the 17 REBI-E patients, 5 had silicone implants and 12 had saline implants previously (prior to the last exchange). Investigation was undertaken before and after replacement surgery in the TBI patients and before and after replacement or augmentation surgery in the REBI patients. The pre- to post-operative sample interval was 8-12 weeks. Pre-operative samples were collected within 7 days prior to the operation. Information on a variety of demographic and behavioral features was collected. Biochemical and biological endpoints relating to genotoxic lipid peroxidation (LPO) products potentially formed in the SOP. and released locally or distributed systemically, were measured. The SOP of explanted TBIs was found to have substantial levels of LPO products, particularly malondialdehyde (MDA), and low levels of trans-4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (HNE) not found in unused implants. Mutagenicity of the SOP was related to the levels of MDA. Capsules that formed around TBIs were microscopically similar to those of reference implants, but MDA-DNA adducts were observed in capsular macrophages and fibroblasts of only TBI capsules. These cell types are not progenitors of breast carcinoma (BCa) and the location of the implants precludes LPO products reaching the mammary epithelial cells which are progenitors of BCa. Blood levels of LPO products were not increased in TBI patients compared to REBI patients and did not change with explantation. In TBI patients, white blood cells did not show evidence of increased levels of LPO-related aldehyde DNA adducts. In conclusion, based on a number of measured parameters, there was no evident effect that would contribute to breast or systemic cancer risk in the TBI patients, and the recommended treatment of TBI patients involving explantation was judged appropriate. (C) 2009 Published by Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
JournalRegulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2009


  • Soya bean oil breast implants
  • Hazard assessment in humans
  • Local and systemic lipid peroxidation products


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